Pathein (Bassein) is a city (1983 pop. 144,092) and is the capital of Ayeyarwady Division in Myanmar and its forth largest city . Lying at the western edge of the Ayeyarwady River delta, on the Pathein (Ngawan) River 190 km west of Yangon, Pathein is accessible to large vessels and despite its distance from the ocean, it is the most important delta port outside of Yangon. It is also the terminus of a branch of the main railroad line. The town is a rice-milling and export centre.
The city's name may derive from Pathi (Burmese word for "Muslim"), due to the large population of Arab and Indian traders. The name was corrupted to Bassein during the British colonial period. The British built a fort and established a garrison in 1826, after the First Anglo-Burmese War.
Pathein is now a peaceful little town with a scenic waterfront, many Buddhist temples, and Pathein umbrella workshops. The colourful handmade umbrellas made in Pathein are famous in Myanmar.
Although once part of the Mon kingdom, Pathein has few ethnic Mon residents today. There are sizeable minorities of Karen and Rakhine.
According to the history, Pathein is much more earlier than Bagan and Mandalay. One can find so many colonial buildings such as port authority office,Old high schools, old church, old mosque etc.
A lot of buses from early morning to evening arriving to a city center.
It is not possible any more for foreigners to travel to and from Yangon (March 2016).
There are many bus from Dagon Ayer Bus Station. You can find the bus for at the end of first and second street of bus station. Fortunately,You can catch a latest bus at the last street of bus station. The name of the bus is SHWE MINGALA and you can catch the last bus at about 5:30 in the evening. Over 50 buses go everyday and 3000 kyats for per person.
There are lots of rickshaws and taxis.
The main sight of Pathein is Shwemokhtaw Paya, a Buddhist temple originally founded (according to local legend) by King Asoka of India in 305 BC. Bagan's King Alaungsithu raised the height of the stupa to 11 meters in 1115 AD, and King Samodogossa raised it to 40 meters in 1263 AD. The stupa is now 46.6 meters tall, with the topmost layer made of 6.3 kg of solid gold, the middle tier of pure silver, and the third tier of bronze, with some 829 diamonds, 843 rubies, and 1588 semi-precious stones.
There are a number of small umbrella workshops which have been operating for more than 200 years. The umbrellas are hand painted and are very cheap to buy (a few dollars each).
Take a tour of the surrounding rivers and wetlands, and get a taste of traditional village life in the Ayerwaddy Delta. The town has a number of older buildings that have survived from the colonial era. Many are clustered near the riverfront and south of the main market.
There is a lively scene along the waterfront beginning each evening at sunset. You can sit by the river and watch all the activity for hours, explore the street market, and meet local people who are eager to talk with foreigners. It is particularly pleasant in the area in front of the new Ocean Shopping Mall. On the second floor of the mall is a supermarket with a small area for eating snacks where students will often politely approach and request to practice their English skills with you.
There are a few 2* and 3* hotels in the town. Probably not necessary to book in advance.